Medicaid law and nursing homes
Imagine that you and your husband are trying to decide whether he will need to go into a nursing home or an assisted living situation in the next few years. It goes without saying that this decision should be made, as much as possible, based on the state of his health and his ability to care for himself. But if you will be depending on Medicaid to meet the considerable expenses involved, you should know how the laws governing Medicaid will affect your day-to-day life. For this, you will need the help of a Medicaid attorney.
There are different types of Medicaid, available for senior citizens with different needs and financial situations. All Medicaid programs come with income restrictions. In the case of a nursing home, you will be permitted to keep at least $1,991.25 a month of the combined incomes you and your husband receive. This is called the minimum monthly maintenance allowance. Under the right circumstances, you may be able to keep more.
The monthly income limit your husband will have on Medicaid in a nursing home is $1,247.50 for basic care and $1,560.50 for a dementia-lockdown unit. However, this only includes Social Security, fixed pensions and other forms of fixed income. It does not include interest, dividends or payments out of an IRA or 401K. As for your resources, if you and your husband have over $240,000, the most you will be able to keep back at home is $119,220. In this case, unlike in the monthly income limit mentioned above, countable resources include life insurance, retirement plans, IRAs and annuities.
A nursing home is considered long term care, while an assisted living center is considered special assistance. If you wish to transfer assets out of your name before applying for Medicaid, the look-back period for an assisted living center is three years, whereas in the case of a nursing home it would be five years.
There are other differences as well. If your husband goes into a nursing home, you and he will be allowed to retain life insurance with a face value of $10,000. If he goes into an assisted living center, that number will drop to $1,500.
An expert in Medicaid law in Gastonia, NC
It should be clear by now that Medicaid law is a complicated subject. If you want to protect your assets when applying for Medicaid, it is a good idea to find a Medicaid attorney who understands the subject and can help you get the most advantage out of the law. Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. Call and make an appointment today.